BW - EP129—001: Radio, Roswell And The Flying Saucer Craze—Kenneth Arnold And The Roswell Crash


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Early on the morning of February 25th, 1942 several aerial objects were spotted over Los Angeles. It triggered the firing of thousands of anti-aircraft rounds. This was ten weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and Manilla. Initially, it was thought to be a Japanese attack, but shortly after Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox said it was a false alarm. The hysteria was blamed on a weather balloon. During World War II soldiers reported seeing metallic spheres in the sky. The allies dubbed them “Foo Fighters.” In 1946, numerous UFO sightings were reported in Sweden. Known as “Ghost Rockets,” they put the Swedish Defense Staff on high alert. No confirmation of what they were was ever achieved. All of these paled in comparison to what happened in Washington State in June of 1947. On June 24th a transport with thirty-two marines on board crashed near Mount Rainier, Washington. A private pilot, Kenneth Arnold, was flying from Chehalis (SHA HAY LISS) to Yakima on a business trip. Arnold had six years of experience flying in and around the rugged Mount Rainier terrain. He went off course to look for wreckage. On April 6th, 1950 he spoke with Edward R. Murrow about his experience. As the objects passed Mount Rainier, Arnold turned his plane parallel to their course. He timed their rate of passage. They moved from Mount Rainier to Mount Adams —a distance of about fifty miles—in one minute forty-two seconds. That put their speed at over seventeen-hundred miles per hour. That was three times faster than any manned aircraft in 1947. The next day Arnold told his story to a newspaper in Pendleton, Oregon. The military questioned Arnold on three occasions, doubting his experience. But, other pilots soon told of sightings. On July 4th, The Oregon Journal received a letter from an L. G. Bernier of Richland, Washington who saw three objects flying toward Mount Rainier about one half-hour before Arnold. Bernier suggested they might have been extraterrestrial in origin. Arnold soon agreed. The problem with simply dismissing what Arnold saw lies in the fact that he was a credible witness. Sure, he could have been seeing things, but here was a man both highly trained and highly observational. Two weeks later, the most speculated UFO crash of the twentieth century was reported in Roswell, New Mexico.

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